Sunday, August 24, 2014

Amish Friends Christmas Cookbook by Wanda E. Brunstetter

I was so surprised yesterday to find this lovely cookbook in the mail from Barbour Publishing on behalf of Wanda E. Brunstetter as a gift.  It was not from a contest that I won, but rather a gift, it said, as requested by Wanda, herself.  I was thrilled because it's a lovely book and has some wonderful looking recipes.

The book also has some beautiful Amish photos as well as pages of customs, history and other little tidbits.  I can't wait to try some of these recipes.  The pictures look wonderful and the Spicy Sandwich Loaf by Betty Bricker looks to die for.  I will surely be trying this one.

Thanks so much for this lovely book Wanda!  It is sure to be a hit and I am thrilled to have a copy of this very nice book!  This book will be available on Sept. 1st.  And you can find it here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rumspringa's Hope by Beth Schriver

I enjoyed this book because it was pretty fast paced and there were many good scenes in it that drew in my interest.

Emma Miller's brother, Mark, has decided to go to the city for his Rumspringa time.  The family is quite concerned as is Emma, who decides to go to the city in the hopes of both evangelizing and to keep tabs on her brother.  But this is also an opportunity to see about old feelings that still seem to be stirring in her heart for Caleb.  Caleb is helping at a Mennonite outreach type program helping the youth as they come for their rumspringa, making sure they have a place to come.

Zeb, who has made it known that he wants to marry Emma, is a widower with a plan that Emma has not yet uncovered.  He hopes that going to the city won't change Emma's mind about being with him.

As Emma learns to care for others who are not like her, she has to make some important decisions in her life as to who and what is most important for her life.

I really enjoyed this book and it has some real-life type adventures, some not so good and others rewarding.
I recommend this book!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Forever Her Hero by Belle Calhoune

This sweet book by Belle Calhoune was a fun read.   The book takes place in Cape Cod and Ava, a widow with twins reunites with her childhood friend, who also happens to be the cousin of her late husband. 

She finds herself having feelings for Sawyer Trask, despite the unhappy father of her late husband, Billy who makes it known that a relationship between the two would be disrespectful to his son's memory. 

However, he is withholding a secret which may destroy the relationship he hopes to share with Ava.  He is torn as to whether he can relate this to Ava, but without doing so, he will never be able to move on. It is a book about healing, forgiving and caring about others.

The story is a very nice read and I enjoyed it very much.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Leaving Lancaster by Kate Lloyd

I have done it again, read the books out of order.  This is book 1 in this series by Kate Lloyd.  This is one that I received free for Kindle at  However, that was a while ago and it is no longer free.  Here is the link to where it is available.  I tend to grab the books when they are free and read them when I have the time, which is the case here.  However, it was so good, that I regretted putting this off for so long.

My review:  Esther and Samuel were two Amish youth wanting to experience the English world.  They were sure this was what was important for them.  After Samuel had to fight in Vietnam, Esther gave birth to Holly.  Samuel does not return and is MIA and eventually pronounced dead.  Holly grows up not knowing her father or her Amish roots.

Esther feels the need to return to Lancaster and to her family, but will they be able to forgive her, especially because Samuel's death can be connected to their wanting to leave and her influence in their leaving.  She and now grown-up Holly, return, thinking it might just be a short visit.  But as the story unfolds, many little secrets, new relatives and the peace of being home, extend their stay. 

This story was really a good read.  I enjoyed the characters very much and could see how it would be hard to return after having caused a big family and community rift.  The feelings of guilt and loneliness for family were also evident here.  I loved it, and have read the remaining books of the series and recommend them all.  Kate is a great writer.  One of the few books I have read lately, where I didn't pick up on lots of editing errors, typos, etc. 

You can find Kate's blog at the link below!

Kate's blog
Kate is clearly one of my favorite authors!

The Book Report!

Last night as I was in bed trying to sleep and couldn't, I recalled my years in elementary school as I would have to write a book report after every book I read.  All of the class had to do that.  For me, I enjoyed it.  For others, definitely, not so much.  I never had a problem getting my books read and reported.  I loved to read.  My friends also loved to read. 

And now I am many years older, and have revisited my love of book reading.  There were many years, I had not picked up so much as even one book, yet now, I am reading nearly everyday.  And guess what, doing a "book report" although it isn't even required!  I don't mind doing a review at all, if it gives someone else an idea of what they might like to read.  I am having fun doing it!

Although the subject matter has changed since the elementary years, the love is still there!

Have a nice Sunday!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Alliance of Isian by Serena Clarke

I have read my first "fantasy" book this week.  The first since I was literally a little kid!  It was fun to relive those feelings of adventure and what is going to happen next!

Book description:

War is coming and all the kingdoms must choose a side. Isian decides to make an alliance with their long time enemies in order to defeat a common enemy. So Isian sends a proposal, offering their daughter to the prince, in order to ensure an alliance. 
Princess Gabrielle and her new husband, Prince Alec must learn to work together and trust each other in order to triumph in the approaching war. 
With a mysterious beast attacking the kingdom, their lives in danger, and overcoming their vast cultural differences, will love grow despite their trials or tear them apart?

My Review:
This book by Serena Clarke is a story of two kingdoms in what appears to me to be a medieval time setting during times of attacks from enemy kingdoms, a time of one kingdom seeking to gain power over the other. 

Two royals of enemy kingdoms find themselves in an arranged marriage to bring together unity between their kingdoms.  Gabrielle, the princess, who is also a very strong character in this book, is from Isian.  In this kingdom magic is used for good.  However, her new husband, Alec, the Tandorian,  does not find this something tolerable.  There are many differences in the kingdoms, both socially and in their customs and as Gabrielle and Alec work through their "Alliance"  their two kingdoms must do so as well. This is not always with smooth sailing as spies and secret enemy plans try to cause this alliance to fail. 

While I am not usually a fantasy reader, I did relate to the characters as they try to overcome the trials that they experience.  The enemies often are in the form of magical creatures which cause destruction to their kingdoms and people.  Gabrielle and Alec do not always see eye to eye and these conflicts cause some mistrust.  In order for the kingdoms to unite and work together, it will first be necessary for their royalty to unite.  How and will this indeed happen?

I enjoyed reading this book and reading a new "for me" genre.  And I was happy that I read it because although fantasy, the characters faced real life issues and therefore made it easy for me to relate to their situations.   This is the first book I have read from this author, but I am sure that I will enjoy reading further books as well.

A very interesting and captivating read.

Disclaimer:  I was given a copy of this book for my honest review, which I have given.  No monetary payment was received.

You can get your copy here.